Iran: The Most Active State Sponsor of Terrorism

The U.S. government classifies the Islamic Republic of Iran as the “most active state sponsor of terrorism.” The U.S. has designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984.

What is state-sponsored terrorism?

State-sponsored terrorism is a state’s deliberate use of terrorism or assistance to terrorist organizations as a foreign policy tool against other countries or groups of people. It can refer to either direct attacks by the state or support of terrorist organizations through the provision of weapons, funds, training, and sanctuary.

Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism by Iran:

Since the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979, one of the defining hallmarks of the Iranian regime has been its habitual use of terrorism against the United States and its allies throughout the world and its ties to terrorist organizations. In addition to carrying out direct attacks, Iran has committed terrorism by proxy through Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, militias in Iraq, and a plethora of other terrorist groups. Iran has a long history of terrorist attacks against the U.S. and Israel, mainly through bombings, abductions, and hijackings. Iranian dissidents and opposition leaders living in exile have also been subject to assassination.

The U.S. government noted that in 2012 there was “a marked resurgence of Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism,” with Iran and Hezbollah’s terrorist activity reaching “a tempo unseen since the 1990s.”